Information Regarding Editing Your Own Web Pages

People often ask if they can edit their own web site pages:

Of course because you pay your yearly hosting fee, you can have access and edit your pages—you "own" your web site and have rights to what its content contains.

As with any skill or profession (like: doing your own taxes), achieving quality/reliable results takes time and experience. Subtleties, consequences, and professional results will vary depending on the amount of time and focus you want to give learning the skills and then editing your web site. Some people would rather optimize the strategy of their business & finances and leave the editing details to someone else, others want to get into the details and have realtime control with interactive design/wording choices and up-to-the-minute news (and not feel constrained that each web content change will cost them something). One warning we will mention is that just because an edit you make looks good in your WYSIWYG editor and the one version of a browser you check it in, does not mean that it will display properly/consistently in all browsers (Firefox, IE6, IE7, Opera, Netscape/Mozilla, Safari, AOL, WebTV, etc.) and all platforms (MAC, PC, Linux, etc.).

There are several tradeoffs that you will want to be aware of.  Below are listed some possible tools and strategies for editing your own web site pages.


  1. Send your edits, carefully notated, to your webmaster. [This is just listed for completeness of all the options]

  2. Have your webmaster provide an "editable window" within certain pages, such that you can edit that excerpted area without fear of messing up the rest of that page. This would be set up so that you edit a separate file and the file is then spliced in to the page that will be displayed. To edit this page, use one of the editor options below.

  3. Edit any page (fully) on your site, without the constraint of just certain sections. The tradeoff is that you run the risk of damaging a navigation menu, CSS style, table structure, etc. And then your web designer will need to charge hourly to repair the damage. Always snapshot a backup copy of your page(s) prior to editing, just so you can fall back if something goes wrong, or in case you want to retrieve/re-use deleted text 6 months from now.

Editor options if you want to do the editing yourself (see disclaimer in red below):

(a) Purchase through us an editor script (we have two that we currently recommend) which you use like a MS WORD editor. Although this WYSIWYG editor (which runs on our servers, and thus is accessible through any browser without any software installation on your own computer) is capable of editing any web page HTML file, we highly suggest that you limit your editing to a limited editable area so that you don't accidentally (or the editor doesn't unknowingly) mess up your navigation menus or table alignment in the rest of the page. A script license is usually around $200(a one-time fee).

(b) Buy a tool like Macromedia(now Adobe) Contribute, which is the little brother of Dreamweaver.
Note: we no longer recommend nor support Contribute (there were too many client complaints about it not connecting and other support issues; altho it is really a great concept).  Instead we recommend buying an old copy of Dreamweaver (through Ebay or similar; e.g. Version "MX" is running about $100 now(2007), and is still a favorite of ours for many editing activities) . An older version is more than sufficient for text and image editing. It's usually about $175 and does a pretty good job of cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility, and not unintentionally messing up other parts of a web page. Like any other software tool, after buying and installing it, you have to learn how to use it, and then later on when you return to make another edit, you have to remember how to use it, and sometimes spend more time than you wish to figure out how to do something.

Unfortuantely we need to charge a consulting hourly fee to help you "repair" any problems created by editing your own files, or to answer questions. In general we are not a training organization to teach web design skills.

Please note that as a hosting company, we are happy to give technical support to make sure that your FTP account and our Apache web server are all working properly, but we must charge an hourly fee for web design, web consultation, web page debugging, software engineering/database consulting, and mentoring/tutorials on the strategies and usage of web authoring tools. We offer a full line of services from marketing consultation, product/architectural photography, graphic design, offset printing, to web design and database web development.


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